Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm a Real Writer Now

Warning. I have a concussion. So I can’t be held responsible for what I post and that's why I haven’t posted in several days. I’d like to say I got this concussion from an incident that involved a tire iron and possibly a clairvoyant basset hound, but alas, that was another post. And no, I didn’t get it from banging my head against the keyboard, though given how I’m feeling about Promise, the sequel to Witness, that’s a good guess. No, I got it from one of my children’s toys, as much as it pains me to admit that. One of these days we can discuss how much damage children and their toys inflict on their parents. Ever stepped on a plastic block or a Matchbox car?

Anyhow, with that warning out of the way …

Woo hoo! I’m officially a “writer.” You may wonder how I got this official status bestowed on me. Well, I’ll tell you. I visited my daughter’s second grade class. They are learning about writing, and her teacher asked me, a “real” writer, to come in and talk to them about it. So there you have it. By virtue of being asked to speak on a topic as a professional, I have now been recognized as said professional. Forget publication, awards, reviews. Just need the recognition of twenty second graders. And my daughter’s beaming face. “That’s my mom!”

Pretty cool, huh?

Of course, the teacher got sick just before I was going to speak, no reflection on me I’m sure. So the principal stepped in to take over the class. Now, I don’t know about you, but I still have a strange reaction to principals. I sat up straight, made sure I wasn’t chewing gum or talking. Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking. Anyhow, after I remembered I was an adult, I did just fine.

We talked about stories for about twenty minutes. Played a few “What if” games. They asked really good questions, including what I liked to read. They loved the fact that I use the Internet to stay in touch with other writers all over the country. And of course they were hugely impressed that I made enough money last year at writing to go out to dinner. Once.

And the respect of a classroom full of second graders might be enough to motivate me to get back to my keyboard and try and make something of Promise. Of course, by the time my name actually appears on the front of a book, they won’t be in second grade anymore. Sigh.


Robin Caroll said...

It's always fun to speak to schools.....the kids are normally more receptive than some adults who ask you questions about your craft!

michael snyder said...

Good for you. You bash your head in, retain your sense of humor, and have enough wits about you to speak in public. I'm impressed.

Really, that sounds like a ton of fun.

Of course the important thing is that your daughter gets to beam with pride until the fireman or comedian shows up for the next session.

Stoke that motivation and get some writing done.

Malia Spencer said...

Whatever! I can personally assure you all that Promise is living up to the rep this girl will be getting herself as soon as Witness is bought and published.

Glad you had fun at the class. Sounds like it was a good thing. Now go write that book so when the contract call comes you can say, yes I have the second one already in the works and can be done by ____ date. Not to mention the fact I'm waiting to get more. :)

Jeanne Damoff said...

How fun! (The "professional" writer speaking gig, not the concussion.) For eight years I taught pre-school-through-junior-high Bible at a Christian school. I always loved the question/answer sessions with the younger ones. Here's a fond memory.

I told the four year olds a simplified version of the story of Noah's Ark. Then I asked, "What did Noah build?"

One little girl's hand shot straight up. She had such an intense expression of concentration on her face, I was sure she'd answer correctly. I pointed to her. "Miranda?"

"I had egg salad for breakfast."

"O-o-okay," I said, cracking up. "That's great news. So, um, does anyone know what Noah built?"

After I gave several hints, "There was a FLOOD. He needed a way to FLOAT on water for a LONG time . . ." someone finally blurted, "A boat!"

I'm glad your second graders fared better--especially in front of the principal. Come to think of it, that development may have actually worked in your favor. You should thank the teacher for getting sick.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hi Jennifer, hope you're feeling better. Glad you're back. I really want to hear that story. LOL! Congrats on the speaking gig. Very cool.

Corina Bowen said...

That is awesome! It brought back a great memory.. I had just got my first hardback childrens book back and somehow my sons teacher heard about it. The next day my son came home all excited... That day he had to do the dreaded, "get up and read infront of the class." His teacher handed him the book she wanted him to read. He was so proud telling me how everyone loved the book. How shocked he was when the teacher handed him the fimilar story. I don't think I have ever felt anything like that... hearing him say "Mom, it was OUR book, I'm not jokin!". He was so proud.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

As much as kids can be a literal pain sometimes, I just love the way they look at life. They can make the quirky connection between Noah's ark and an egg salad. The ideas they came up with when we played "What If" were very creative. Next time I'm stuck on a plot point, I'm going to ask my daughter's class.

And as much as we love it when we're proud of them, it's pretty cool when they're proud of us. Not sure if that carries over to teenager-hood, though.